The Workplace Realignment

Helping businesses connect with employees on mental health needs

We’re calling on organisations to better understand employee expectations and overall sentiment towards work in a post-pandemic world, to deliver tailored mental health solutions.

As Australia emerges from the initial waves of disruption, employee expectations around the role of work are continuing to shift. A more diverse, multigenerational workforce is taking on new challenges, and factors in the economic landscape and broader environment are continuing to impact mental health.

Adding to the volatile economic environment are pervasive issues like increased pressure on workload. With four distinct generations now working together, each is feeling the brunt of the ongoing pressures differently, making the delivery of effective workplace mental health support more complex.

Julie Mitchell, Chief General Manager of Personal Injury, Allianz Australia
  • Our research1 has shown that issues such as the cost of living, adoption of new technologies, work-life balance, career development, and organisational support dominate how employees measure mental health and overall satisfaction at work. While the direct impact of the pandemic has mostly passed, lingering issues such as employee burnout and talent shortages continue to impact the mental health of staff. New concerns due to economic uncertainties have also come to the fore.
  • These headwinds signal that now is the time for a Workplace Realignment. It’s time to address evolving workplace mental health concerns and make sure there’s a greater alignment between managers and employees on mental health needs within the modern workforce.
35% of surveyed employees rank cost of living higher than fatigue and burnout as negatively impacting job satisfaction (33%). Almost a quarter state they feel they’re underpaid for their work (24%).
Gen Z (27%) and Gen X (32%) were least likely to state they were satisfied with work and are also feeling the pressure of fatigue and burnout the most, (Gen X (45%) and Gen Z (48%). Millennial employees were most likely to state that the speed of technology changes, such as the adoption of AI in the workplace, is making them feel out of date and is negatively impacting their experience at work (17%). 
New claims data saw a 46% increase in active mental health (psychological) claims and a 36% increase in cost since pre-pandemic times. Psychological Workers' Compensation active claims were responsible for around 69 employee leave days per claim. This is a 39% increase in the average days taken off work due to mental health in the last four years.
While 60% of surveyed managers say their organisation has gone above and beyond to provide support and systems to create a mentally healthy workplace, just 33% of employees share the same sentiment. 
41% of surveyed employees are likely to consider leaving their current organisation in the next 6 to 12 months, which equates to 1.4 million Australian workers saying they’re very likely to do so. 

Based on figures from YouGov The Workplace Realignment research, YouGov (2023). (1,500 workers and 521 managers surveyed.)

Allianz Workers' Compensation claims data comparing primary psychological active claims for FY19 compared to FY23, across all Allianz portfolios including; Allianz Australia's Underwritten Workers' Compensation, NSW Managed Fund (for both private and public sector employees) and Victorian Managed Fund Portfolios.

Dr Mark Cross, Consultant Psychiatrist and Author

While issues in the workplace are becoming more complex and proving harder to solve, managers must focus on responding to the direct needs of their employees, to maintain a more mentally healthy workplace culture. 

Learn how you can spark a Workplace Realignment through: 

Addressing the tricky topics relating to workplace mental health is a crucial step in supporting wellbeing. This is especially important amidst anxiety around new technology adoption, and in alleviating employee fear associated with speaking up.
Only 31% of employees speak up at work when faced with an issue.1
Millennials are the generation feeling the brunt of rapid technology change the most, with almost one in five saying it negatively impacts their experience at work (17%).
1Only 31% of surveyed employees who had changed their approach or attitude to work in the past 12 months now speak up at work when faced with an issue.
  • Invest in communication and performance management training for leaders.
  • Establish a diverse and appropriately trained peer support network. 
  • Foster a ‘speak up culture’ through regular check-ins.
  •  Implement anonymous reporting mechanisms and regular feedback processes.
  • Investigate to understand what factors are causing the anxiety.
  • Ensure employees feel relevant by developing their technological capabilities.
  • Ensure clear processes and policies are in place to communicate workplace concerns.
Upskilling managers and building strong leaders is a necessary step in addressing unconscious bias, and in the diverse mental health needs of your employees.
One in five surveyed Australian employees believe their manager would overlook them for a senior role due to their age.
Surveyed Millennials (42%) and Gen Z (38%) employees believe their manager feels they’re ‘too young’ to complete their tasks effectively.
41% of surveyed Australian employees would like to see their organisation promote empathic and emotionally intelligent work environments.
  • Develop a matrix that provides transparency around access to career progression and opportunities.
  • Invest in leader upskilling with unconscious bias and emotional intelligence training.
  • Recruit for diversity and use processes free from bias, such as diverse interview panels.
  • Actively recognise the need for individual mental health support.
  • Regularly review and update policies that address mental health.
  • Offer a diverse range of people and culture programs for individual career and life stages planning early in career to transitioning to retirement.
  • Provide wellbeing education and resources that cover a diverse range of topics.
A work environment that facilitates balance helps address challenges with burnout and encourages employees to set healthy work-related boundaries.
40% of surveyed Australian employees who had changed their approach or attitude to work in the past 12 months are now more aware of the importance of having a work–life balance.
One in five surveyed Australian employees don’t have a say in their flexible working conditions.
Surveyed Gen X (45%) and Gen Z (48%) are more likely to be feeling the pressure of fatigue and burnout than Millennials (30%) and Baby Boomers (43%).
  • Focus on clear communication during peak periods in workload and ensure employees feel safe to speak up if they’re overwhelmed. 

  • Ensure appropriate resource planning to alleviate bottlenecks and address peak work periods.
  • Ensure workloads are reasonable and achievable, supported by mentorship and training.
  •  Ensure employee motivators, such as flexible working, are addressed and tailored solutions implemented.
  • Set clear expectations about working hours and work communication outside of these hours.
  •  Encourage open and safe dialogue with employees on what balance looks like for them.

Having clear systems and processes for acknowledging employee effort, work ethic, performance, and attitude helps address employee dissatisfaction in remuneration, and declining job satisfaction and engagement.

Almost a quarter (24%) of surveyed Australian employees feel they’re underpaid at work.
Most surveyed Australian employees say cost of living pressures (35%) and fatigue and burnout (33%) are negatively impacting their job satisfaction
Gen Z employees were least likely to state they were satisfied with work
  • Understand your employees’ career aspirations and ensure actionable and tangible goals are included in career development plans.
  • Introduce formal intrinsic and extrinsic reward systems and encourage peer-to-peer recognition.
  • Make sure employees are educated about your complete benefits package.
  • Be transparent regarding the regular review of remuneration, to ensure salaries are benchmarked in line with market.
  • Allocate time for regular, open and important conversations.
  • Build social connection and relationships within teams through team activities and collaboration. 

  • Consider ways to collaboratively design work so it’s meaningful.
  • Ensure people leaders know how to identify individual motivational factors and can develop strategies to address them.
Julie Mitchell, Chief General Manager of Personal Injury, Allianz Australia
Discover more of our research on workplace mental health, including practical tips you can implement in your organisation. 

The research was commissioned by Allianz and conducted by YouGov in accordance with the Australian Polling Council standard. The survey is a nationally representative sample comprised of 1,500 employees (middle managers and below), and 521 managers (senior managers and above) in Australia aged 18 years and older. 

This study was conducted online between 23 May 2023 and 31 May 2023. Following the completion of interviewing, the data was weighted by age, gender, and region to reflect the latest ABS population estimates.

The generations are defined by:

1. Gen Z (1997 - 2009)
2. Millennials (1981 - 1996)
3. Gen X (1965 - 1980)
4. Baby Boomer (1946 - 1964)
5. Silent (1918 - 1945)

Allianz acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we live and work across Australia. We pay our respect to First Nations Elders past and present.

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